Social networks as a journalistic standard

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Reply to the review of “Contemporary China” by Carlos Graieb

Carlos Graieb's review of the book contemporary china (Authentic) published in the newspaper Folha de S. Paul  it falls short of the reader's expectation and the usual standard in print media. It lacks objectivity and impartiality. The diction, the adjectives, the types of judgments issued were borrowed from the language of digital influencers. In this deliberate mimicry, ticks of social media activists prevail: to discuss, in a peremptory tone, without prior meditation, on subjects that they do not dominate. The reviewer's considerations convey the impression of a rushed and incomplete reading. Let's see.

In the commentary on Luiz Enrique Vieira de Souza's article on the environmental situation in China, the reviewer unilaterally reports only the negative aspects. He ignores the pages that present advances such as the gradual internalization of environmental criteria in Chinese legislation and heavy investments in clean energy, energy efficiency and reforestation. The reader is not even informed that the sociologist's explicit objective was to establish a balance of the contradictory evolution of the issue of the environment, of the polarity between “flows of ecological modernization and vectors of environmental degradation”.

Graieb described as “hard reading” the article “The Chinese rise and the capitalist world-economy: a historical perspective”, by the economist and professor at USP, Alexandre de Freitas Barbosa. The listed reasons – the confrontation of theories of economic history, the effort of abstraction – reveal only the reviewer's disregard for conceptual thinking, a form of knowledge inaugurated by Socrates and the structuring axis of modern science since Galileo.

The reviewer accused Elias Jabbour and Alexis Dantas, specialists recognized by economists from different schools such as Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira and Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo for the originality of their analyzes on China, of “ideological compromise”. Ideology, thus put, is attributed to the other, an argumentative resource that escapes from intellectual discussion, resorting to the ad hominem. This record raises the question: why are Carlos Graieb's previous judgments about China and Hong Kong not “ideological”?

The review does not even inform readers that the article by Jabbour and Dantas examines the role of the State in the management, coordination and planning of the economy, supporting the thesis that this intervention would have generated a specific economic and social formation: “market socialism”. . Nor does it mention the central concepts of the essay – “new design economics” and “China institutionalized geopolitics”.

Graieb refuses to comment on Vladimir Pomar's article, due to the author's credentials as a “political activist”. Pomar is known in journalistic circles for having been a member of the National Directorate of the PT and coordinator of Lula's 1989 campaign. His intellectual respectability also derives from his investigations into the Chinese enigma, a subject on which he has published nearly a dozen books. In this case, the reviewer's attitude resembles that of the ideologues of the “School without a party” who intend, among other barbarities, to banish from the bibliography the books of Karl Marx, a prominent political activist.

The reviewer confesses that the article by Francisco Foot Hardman, historian and professor of literature at Unicamp, left him "baffled", but does not clarify whether it was because of the application of the concepts of simultaneism and fusion to historical-cultural space-times or because of unable to comment on the works analyzed in the article, by novelist Mo Yan and filmmaker Jia Zhangke. His reaction to the discomfort, a boutade devoid of grace, was surprising, as it is typical behavior of semiliterates.

Graieb does not hide his prejudices and his anti-intellectualism. The review opens with an adversarial sentence: “I went to the book organized by sociologist Ricardo Musse with interest, even knowing that the footprint was academic”. He is not surprised that he prefers to repeat stereotypes to recognize the valuable Brazilian contributions to understanding the genesis, development and future of the Chinese rise.

* Ricardo Musse is a professor at the Department of Sociology at USP, organizer of Contemporary China: six interpretations (Authentica) and author of Émile Durkheim: social fact and division of labor (Rile up).

Extended version of article published in the newspaper Folha de S. Paul, on August 14, 2021.


Ricardo Musse (org.). Contemporary China: six interpretations. Belo Horizonte, Autêntica, 2021, 198 pages.


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